Tag Archives: sangria

Winter Warmers: Cocktails for Christmas!

Up-cycling Tequila (and its friends)


So I always end up with half empty bottles. Left right and centre. A lot of them take up space I need and shamefully I’ve been guilty of throwing out more than a few of these ‘casualties’ of war.

So what can we, as responsible adults, do to combat the shameful wasting of perfectly good alcohol? Well let me share with you some recipes that are perfect for using up old ingredients and opened bottles of booze you might have lying around the house.

There are four (4) recipes in this post, all of which make use of the odd amounts of alcohol you may have lying around. Even if you don’t have the particular type of alcohol available you can gather ideas from how the recipes are put together and tweak them to suit your available spirits!

Without further ado, let’s look at those recipes:

#1 Homemade Fruity Winter Punch

orange winter punch

Recipe:

500ml Vodka

250ml Gin

250ml Lemon

2L Orange

2L Sparkling Wine

Garnish: Citrus Fruits, Winter berries & star anise

Method:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large punch bowl.
  • Add sliced fruit and chill well.
  • If serving with ice fill up shortly before serving.
  • If serving chilled without ice, take out of the fridge at the last second.

 

#2 Winter Pimms

winter pimms

Recipe:

500ml Pimms #1

500ml Brandy/Calvados

1.5L Apple Juice

Ice

Garnish: 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 apples, 2 oranges

Method:

Cold:

  • Add all one by one and stir well.
  • Leave for 30 minutes for cinnamon flavour to develop more.

Hot:

  • Heat all ingredients – except the ice and fruit.
  • Add fruit after.

 

#3 Belvoir Spiked Mulled Winter Punch

belvoir mulled punch

Recipe:

1.5L Belvoir Mulled Winter Punch

500ml Vodka

500ml Gin

Ice

Garnish: blackcurrants, oranges, apples, limes, lemons etc…

Method:

  • Combine in the punch bowl.
  • Add sliced fruit and ice.

Serve immediately.


#4 Aromatic Spiced Winter Punch

mixed punch

Recipe:

300ml Gin

200ml Vodka

200ml Tequila

2L apple juice

250ml Ginger & lemongrass cordial

Garnish: 6 cinnamon sticks, 12 star anise, 12 cloves, 4 lemons

Method:

  • Slice lemons into wedges and squeeze a few into a punch bowl.
  • Add other ingredients and stir.
  • Leave for 30-45 minutes (cover and chill in the fridge for faster cooler).
  • Add ice just before serving.

Sangria: A latin party maker and centrepiece to boot

sangria slowstruck

Here’s a little secret: Sangria is a perfect centrepiece for parties. Ok, so it wasn’tsuper-secret – most of you already knew that!  But do you know the best way to get the most out of your sangria recipes? No? Well, here is my guide to perfect sangrias every time…

Europe And Its Great But Terrible Sangria Obsession

To be faithful to my story telling roots (or, if you want to put it more bluntly, my rambling nature), I thought I’d start with a bit of history: about the origins of Sangria and, most importantly, about why wine takes centre stage in this universal favourite.

What are the origins of Sangria? Well done for those of you who answered ‘Spain’, but even more points for those of you who said Spain and identified the timeframe of 1700-1800’s. We know this historical period more commonly as the Middle Ages (think Game of Thrones, albeit a little less rose tinted – if that’s possible!). Sangria was created mainly out of necessity! Until the mid-late 19th century, safe drinking water was not as readily available as it is today; therefore, the people of the time looked for safer means of drinking.

Based upon the idea that alcohol kills off the harmful bacteria/nasty stuff that causes diseases like Cholera and Diptheria, alcohol naturally and literally became the only safe way to drink any water. In addition to the health benefits of this plan, it was obvious that certain concoctions would be socially shared (quite merrily, I might add).

As these potent mixtures gained popularity, they also accumulated added ingredients, and thus the first ‘Sangria’ recipes came to be. As milk was considered strictly for babies, and as water was more likely to kill you than keep you alive, this wine mixture was consumed en masse, and even given to young children – talk about an interesting childhood.

Traditionally, the typical Sangria consisted of several ingredients: wine, some type of brandy and fruit. This mixture – in one form or another – became popular across Europe for hundreds of years, and has eventually been refined into the modern Sangria we know and love so much. Introduced into the USA back in 1964’s World Fair in New York, Sangria really put Spain (and red wine, especially) on the map across the Americas.

To this day, traditional Sangria is still made using red wine, brandy and fruit, although sugar and fruit juices are generally both used as well.

But where do you begin with the preparation of your Sangria? What ingredients do you need to rustle up a crowd pleasing wonder? Well, before I share with you my easy-to-follow recipes, why don’t you quickly review this check list to get a basic Idea of the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Wine or non-alcoholic substitute.
  • Try using different fruit juices. Base fruit juices such as orange, apple, peach and grape are great possibilities.
  • Sugar: preferably unrefined brown/muscovado – it’s richer in flavour and is not as bad for you as the refined white cane sugar. Honey/Agave Nectar are also great substitutes.
  • Spirits: rum, vodka, gin, tequila and liqueurs – choose those that work best with the wine you’ve picked. For instance, try using tequila in a spicy style wine, and rum for a sweet one.
  • Fruits, Vegetables, Spices: Citrus Fruits(lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits), Orchard Fruits (plums, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines),Soft Fruits/Berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.), Exotic Fruits (dragon fruit, bananas, coconut, pineapple, kiwi, sharon fruit, lychee), Vegetables (cucumber, tomatoes, peppers) andspices (fresh red/green chili, ginger, jalapeno, cinnamon).

Once you have your plethora of ingredients, you can move on to the step by step guide below (here’s some free advice: for that added ‘special something’, try using locally grown seasonal ingredients; they will add much more flavour and you can direct your friends on where to acquire them).

How to Mix Sangria

sangria (1)
If your Sangria looks a little like this? You did good 🙂
  1. One giant leap

Start by mixing the wine, chosen spirit, juice and sugar together and then cover and chill for approximately 1-2 hours.

I find that taking your sweet time will result in a better tasting end product. Stir in the sugar until it is fully dissolved, and mix in your juices and spirits thoroughly.

Did you know? – Whilst traditional Sangria primarily uses red wine and brandy, you can use pretty much any type of wine and any spirit you like. Why not try rum and sparkling white wine (Prosecco/Cava/Champagne) or vodka and still white wine?

  1. Sugar and spice and everything nice

Now comes the best bit: adding your preferred flavours.

First, quickly stir your sugar/juice mixture then introduce your ready-prepared mix of fruits and/or vegetables and spices. You can use any fruit you like, so experiment and have some fun. Once the fruit has been added, cover and return to the fridge for another 2-4 hours

  1. The mid-season finale

Like any decent process, you need to check your progress half way through, so this step it designed to allow you to do just that. Remove the Sangria from the fridge, stir it extremely well to make sure the Sangria ingredients are combining well, and then cover and put back in the fridge for one final time (again for around 2-4 hours).

Did you know? – The best tasting Sangria can sometimes involve leaving the mixture in a fridge overnight to allow the fruit to settle into the alcohol, creating deeper, more meaningful flavours in the mixture.

  1. As cold as ice

By now you should have a large bowl/container/pitcher full of a very fruity and alcohol-laced chilled liquid. But it doesn’t stop there. You need to stir thoroughly before serving and have your carbonated mixer on hand (if you’re using one – you don’t have to!). If serving straight away, then ice isn’t necessary. But have a bag or two ready in case it’s a particularly hot day (or you plan on leaving it out all evening).

  1. Service with a smile

To serve, half fill a glass with ice, then top up with your chosen sparkling mixer!

Prosecco/champagne or lemonade make great mixers, but feel free to try any sparkling mixer you want.  I find orange soda works particularly well.

This 5 step guide is genuinely all you need to produce party-popping Sangria mixes every time. You can make non-alcoholic Sangria using  the same ingredients as detailed above. Whether alcoholic or not, your Sangria will be the envy of all your friends and before you know it, they’ll all be after your recipe.

Since it’s taken you nearly an entire day to create this masterpiece on your table, respect it and take every opportunity to enjoy every scent and sip. Did I mention it’ll keep, in a sealed container, for up to 24-48 hours depending on the fruit/juice used?

And, as I don my Etiquette hat for a small moment; A good host always remembers to be responsible when serving/consuming alcohol, and will check thoroughly that no one is allergic to the fruits/vegetables being used.

One Last Thought

I love to take the slower, more traveled path when creating a great cocktail.  I’ll go out and buy ingredients to make my own infused syrups rather than buying pre-prepared, lower quality products. This process scales elegantly in mixtures such as Sangria. Of course you can create a decent version in a couple of hours; but to really blow your guests away, use fresh juice, locally sourced ingredients, maybe something a little less known, and of course take your time preparing it. You should always treat Sangria like a joint of meat in a marinade – allow plenty of time for the flavour to develop.

Stay tuned for next time – I’ll have something a little seasonal once more, in the form of a very well known and historically charged topic: London Dry Gin.

A Pitcher Says A Thousand Words…

5 scalable sparkling drinks, perfect for your end of Summer BBQ…

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Everyone loves a BBQ, whether you’re British or American, it’s a universal food language! Picture courtesy of http://www.affordablecateringdenver.com

This post is a bit pre-emptive. It’s not the end of summer just yet, but with the slightly cooler weather we are getting, it’s only ever around the corner.  With these concoctions you can hang on to what remains of this weather for as long as you feasibly can. There is even a non-alcoholic one at the bottom…

Without further ado I present to you the 5 pitcher drinks you simply cannot be doing without this autumn!

1)      Vodka Knockout

1L Vodka

175ml Lime Juice

500ml Triple Sec

1L Cranberry Juice

1L Bitter Lemon(ade)

1L Classic Lemonade

Method:

Mix all of the still ingredients into a bowl/jug and stir well. Add your choice of slice/chopped fruit then cover and place in the fridge for 2-12 hours. Then top up with the carbonated ingredients and serve. If preparing without the 2-12 hours’ notice use large blocks of ice to keep the drink chilled.

2)      Rum Juggler

700ml Rum

500ml Southern Comfort

50ml Sugar Syrup

150ml Lime Juice

1L Apple Juice

1L Ginger Ale

Method:

Mix together the alcohol, lime juice and syrup. Then add your selection of prepared fruit. Cover and leave to chill for around 4-5 hours, then add the apple juice, cover and chill for up to a further 8hrs.

Serve straight from the fridge, and top up with the ginger ale. If prepared at short notice, again use large lumps of ice to chill the mixture, stirring in the ice to begin with.

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Cocktail are refreshing, and they are perfect for BBQ’s too… Picture courtesy of http://www.vegasnews.com

3)      Gin Garden

700ml Gin

350ml Passoa

250ml Cointreau

150ml Lemon Juice

1L Tropical/Passionfruit Juice

1L Soda Water

Method:

Mix together the alcoholic ingredients and lemon juice in your serving bowl/jug.  Cover and chill for up to 5 hours. Then mix in the chosen fruit juice. Cover and chill for up to a further 7 hours. Serve straight from the fridge, topping up the drink with soda water, but only when it’s in their glass. DO NOT put the soda in the bow as, it will go flat extremely quickly.

4)      Orchard Liqueur Especial

250ml Licor 43

250ml St. Germain Liqueur

350ml Plum Liqueur

100ml Chambord

500ml Apple Schnapps

350ml Cranberry Juice

1L Apple & Pear Juice

1L Ginger Ale

Method:

Pour all of the ingredients into a large serving bowl. Then stir in your selection of chopped/slice fruits and stir well. Cover and leave in the fridge to cool for 2+hrs. Then remove and add the fruit juice and stir again. Leave for another 2hrs and then serve, topping up with Ginger ale at the last moment.

If you have less time on your hands, put all the ingredients (except the ginger ale) in the bowl with large ice cubes. Then stir in the fruit, and add the fruit juice and stir again. Top up with the Ginger ale just before serving.

This mixture is perfect as it is, but should you like to tweak it try and stick to Orchard/Forest fruits. A selection of apples, pears, plums, peaches and various soft berries work wonders chopped up and served in the mixture.

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Not all cocktails have to be alcoholic, some of the best cocktails i’ve tried have been non-alcoholic… Picture courtesy of http://www.rachaelraymag.com

5)      Mocktail Monster

100ml grenadine

700ml POM pomegranate juice

350ml cranberry juice

350ml Apple Juice

150ml Lime Juice

1L Bitter Lemon

1L Lemonade

Method:

Mix all the ingredients up and serve with ice. The bigger the ice cubes the better, as they will melt slower. Serve with various sliced/chopped fruit and plenty of lemonade to top.

This recipe works well as a non-alcoholic alternative but can easily be made alcoholic if you wish; Vodka or rum make good bases, with liqueurs like SoCo and Cointreau working equally well. For a special little kick why not try adding 500-700ml of Tequila?

Or you can go for a more elegant touch and swap the lemonade out for Sparkling Wine/Champagne. It’s all up to you!

I’ve tried to make these recipes as crowd friendly as possible, you’ll notive that I’ve refrained from the use of Orange and Pineapple Juices, this is because I’ve found more people than you may think are allergic to them. That’s not to say you cannot add them in at all, just find out who’s allergic beforehand! – we want everyone to get the most enjoyment out of your drinks after alll!

These recipes are easy to prepare in bulk, and show clear volumes of each ingredient so you can scale them up (or down) to order.

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Always aim to try new things, this wonderful device is a brilliant day out. check out http://www.firebox.com for more information…

All recipes are my own creation, so please ask me if you would like to use them on your own websites/blogs. Otherwise feel free to use them at your events , and even play with the ingredients to suit your tastes. The ingredients used are such that there is a certain amount of tweaking allowed before they taste unbalanced. Hopefully you enjoy them as much as we do here at the Fervent Shaker Co. Your BBQ’s will never be the same…

Mexican Sangria – Wine, Tequila and baskets of fresh fruit…

Sangria is not an unknown sensation, especially across Latin parts of the world. Whether you find yourself in South America, Mexico or across Southern Europe you will find sangria in one form or another. The basics are as follows:

Wine,

Fruit juice,

Fresh fruit pieces,

Mixer

Classic sangria’s also primarily use red wines; however I prefer the lighter white wine sangrias that are becoming more and more popular. Whether it’s because you can add other spirits, or whether it’s because white wine doesn’t produce an unattractive colour when mixed with different juices; white wine sangrias are just becoming more and more popular…

You might think that this is a bad thing, but in fact it’s a great move. The use of white wines opens the door for the addition of spirits. Rum, Tequila, Vodka & all sorts of fruit liqueurs all have something to add to the world of sangria (just look at how many punches/pitcher cocktails there are!).

This post is a continuation of my previous Sangria blog, and will be aiming to show you how to use Tequila in sangria recipes…

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So then, let’s get started…

We begin by taking the white wine sangria from my previous sangria blog:

750ml White wine

1 ½ cups white rum

1 ½ cups orange juice

½ cup white sugar

1 lemon, lime & orange (diced/sliced)

Optional: Selection of orchard fruits (apples, pears, plums etc.) to taste

Top up with lemonade (or sparkling wine for an added kick)

This recipe is very basic, but it covers all the basics already mentioned above. For a very simple Mexican Sangria, you could just switch out the rum for silver tequila. But I like my sangria a little more refined. And below are some recipes and tips that show why these sangria’s work.

Recipe 1: Especial Heaven

750ml Casillero Del Diablo Chardonnay*

500ml Jose Cuervo Especial Gold Tequila**

500ml Orange Juice

500ml Grapefruit Juice

250ml Cranberry Juice

½ cup Muscovado Sugar

2L Grapefruit soda to top

Lemon, Lime, Orange & Pink grapefruit slices (1 of each fruit sliced up)

Selection of preferred hard fruits: Apples, Pears, peaches, apricots etc…

Add the alcohol, juice and sugar into a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the fruit and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Then, just before serving add the Grapefruit soda.

*Casillero Del Diablo Chardonnay 75cl (750ml): £7.99 from www.Tesco.com.

**Jose Cuervo Especial Gold Tequila 50cl (500ml): £14.00 from www.tesco.com.

This Chardonnay wine from Chile will work perfectly with the fragrant Especial tequila in this sangria. Its flavours blend in well with the fruits used and the nature of the tequila (agave, and other fruity notes) also lending themselves to the sangria’s overall taste.

Top Tip: Try to match the fruit to both the wine and the tequila. Look online (or on the bottle) for the fruity notes of both and try to use those fruits (as well as the basic citrus and orchard fruits).

Recipe 1: Reposado Royale

750ml Artesano De Argento Pinot Grigio

500ml El Jimador Reposado Tequila

½ cup Muscovado Sugar

500ml orange juice

500ml pineapple juice

250ml mango juice

250ml guava juice

Top up: Mateus Sparkling Rose

Orange, lemon, lime slices

Pineapple slices/chunks

Mango chunks

Blending exotic tropical flavours from the Argentinian Pinot Grigio blend well with the El Jimador Reposado and are topped off nicely with the creamy Mateus Rose’s apricot & strawberry flavours.

Top tip: Just because main flavours are tropical, don’t be afraid of using the creamier, softer berried flavours the rose wine supplied. It adds an extra layer, and greater depth in flavour to the sangria.

* Artesano De Argento Pinot Grigio 75Cl (750ml) £7.99 from www.Tesco.com.

**El Jimador Reposado 70Cl (700ml) £19.99 from www.sainsburys.co.uk (or almost any store).

***Mateus Sparkling Rose 75Cl (750ml) £8.29 from www.morrisonscellar.com.

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So topping your sangria off with sparkling rose adds a little class, not to mention a great taste!

Final Recipe – Silver Key Sauvignon Blanc:

750ml Sauvignon Blanc*

500ml Sierra Silver Tequila**

250ml Triple Sec***

½ cup Muscovado Sugar

500ml Orange Juice

500ml Grapefruit Juice

250ml Cranberry & Raspberry Juice

150ml Passoa (optional)

150ml Grenadine Syrup****

Top up: Any clear soda you like.

Lime, Lemon, Orange slices.

Soft berries: Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Apricots, Peaches, Greengages as well as a selection of citrus fruits (mandarin’s, satsuma’s and clementine’s work particularly well).

*Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 75cl (750ml) £9.29 from www.sainsburys.co.uk

**Sierra Silver Tequila 50cl (500ml) £15.49 from www.sainsburys.co.uk

***Any triple sec you can find will suffice, I think for this De Kuyper/Bols work perfectly fine. Don’t waste your Cointreau on something like this!

****Try to be a little experimental with your choice of syrup. Grenadine works fine if you cannot get anything else, but try exotic flavours like Hibiscus & Kiwi (among others), check out this website for the hibiscus syrup: http://www.creamsupplies.co.uk/rosella-wild-hibiscus-syrup-300ml/prod_5491.html?category=

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Citrus fruit make the sangria. But always feel free to brighten this picture up with some ideas of your own…

So that concludes the recipes… Now for some top tips:

1)      Feel free to experiment, that’s how half of these recipes came about after all!

2)      The use of fruit is essential, but it must be to you, and your guests’ tastes. If someone is allergic to Banana’s then don’t use them. (I know this one is a no-brainer but it happens!).

3)      When making Mexican sangria remember: Tequila is king. Always use top quality tequila.

4)      While tequila is king, you need fruity flavours. To accomplish this, use fruit liqueurs – don’t be afraid to add small amounts in. Stick to a 1-5 rule (for every 500ml of tequila use 100-150ml of the fruit liqueur).

5)      Read the labels. Read the wine and tequila labels to work out what fruit to use in the mix. Also – always use the freshest fruit.

In summary I suppose I just want to say that the idea behind this post is that if you have the ingredients for great Mexican sangria’s (like those above) then fantastic – enjoy yourself, but for those that don’t; make sure you have the wine and tequila’s available and just use whatever else you can afford/have at hand!

Please feel free to leave comments as to what you thought of these recipes, or even just general feedback! I am enjoying some tequila nights here at home this week, so I’ll have some more Mexican themed posts on their way to you soon! Thanks for reading and keep a weather eye out!

Oh, and please remember to drink responsibly!

Sangria: The Latino Method Of Getting Drunk…

Below are a collection of my personal Sangria Recipes… Think of them as a Gateway to your own Sangria Designs.

If you want to use them word for word, you honour me. But if you want to chop and change the ingredients, feel free. That’s the best bit about this post: It’s all about you! – Except my recipes… They’re about me!

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A stunning Citrusy White wine Sangria… Perfect refreshment on a summers night…

So Sangria’s are traditionally a Spanish drink, and are a kind of grey area when it comes to cocktails as it is a traditional way of serving wine and fruit. However in recent years it has been more acceptable to tweak sangria recipes to make them more accessible for the wider crowds. Whilst you won’t find many sangria’s on your local pub/cocktail bar’s menus, they are fantastic centrepieces for your private events. And the best thing about these sangria’s is that you can tweak the recipes indefinitely to suit your own tastes.

One of several simple Sangria recipes is as follows:

1 ½ cups of rum

750ml (1 bottle) dry Red Wine

1 cup orange juice

½ cup white granular sugar

1 lemon

1 lime

1 orange

Optional: Selection of orchard fruits (plums, pears, apples, peaches & Nectarines etc…)

This recipe whilst seemingly complicated can be broken down into a simple; easy to follow method that you can transfer to almost all sangria’s you make:

1)      Chill the rum, orange juice and wine (yes I know its red but trust me you want it chilled).

2)      Prepare the fruit. Slice the citrus fruits and halve/quarter the orchard fruits.

3)      Add the rum, sugar and fruit into a pitcher, mixing in the sugar a little.

4)      Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours for the flavours to mix well.

5)      Shortly before serving, gently crush the fruit and stir in the red wine. Adjusting the sweetness to your tastes (add more sugar if it’s too dry for you).

Following these instructions should allow you to create perfectly fantastic tasting Sangria mixes every time.

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Sangria’s can make use of old fruits, anything you have can go into a Sangria. Waste not want not!

My first taste of sangria was a red wine, vodka and amaretto mix. As you can imagine it was more a student ‘get drunk quick’ recipe, and whilst it did its job, nobody seemed to enjoying the taste, which is a real shame considering some of the alcohol going into the drink. So the next time I had a party (my University leaving party in fact) I made it my mission to include a refreshing summery sangria that not only got people drunk, but actually tasted fantastic.

I started by stripping the sangria recipe’s found online back to the basics: Wine, a spirit and Fruit. These are the 3 most important ingredients to any sangria. I don’t like red wine in general, so I swapped it out for a medium priced (£4.99-7.99) Pinot Grigio (White) wine. This instantly meant no matter how chilled the mix became the wines taste would only improve (seeing as the general consensus is to serve white wine chilled and red wine at room temperature).

Then I dealt with the spirit:

Technically rum is the classic ingredient and I still believe it works well, especially with white wine. Using a combination of white, golden and dark rums I created layers in the sangria within the rum.

Then using a host of orchard and citrus fruits I bulked out the mix and then topped it up just before serving with a 2L bottle of lemonade. This created a sparkling, refreshing sangria that I found worked better with alcohol used.

The recipe was as follows:

750ml (1 bottle) Pinot Grigio (White) wine

250ml Orange Juice

250ml Cranberry Juice

250ml Pineapple Juice

1 cup of white sugar

500ml White Rum

350ml Golden Rum

250ml Dark Navy Rum

2L (1 bottle) Lemonade

Fruits: 2 x Oranges, 3 x Limes, 3 x Lemons, 3 x Plums, 3 x Peaches, 3 x Apples, 3 x Pears & 1 x Cucumber.

This fruit was sliced, halved, quartered, diced and shredded (cucumber) allowing for quick absorption of the alcohol.

Now I would suggest on sticking to the 5 steps of the recipe at the top of this post, but in this case I could only prepare it 1hr in advance. So to chill the ingredients whilst they mixed, I added 1KG of shop bought ice. This was purely to chill the mixture before serving. Also as a side note, I added the lemonade just before serving, so as the drink kept its fizz.

This ‘white-wine’ sangria recipe might seem slightly complicated but when you look at it, all you have to do is cut out the stuff you don’t want. I had to cater for around 10-15 people but if you have less, I would suggest on cutting out at least half the rum. Using just white rum is not only economical for your bank balance, but also responsible too. This recipe is for enjoyment not a route to satisfy an incessant need to just get drunk.

White wine sangrias are becoming more and more popular, both because of their taste and because they mix better with the fruits used. They are easier to prepare and give a more British feel to this otherwise Spanish drink. Don’t get me wrong, if you like red wine based sangrias then that’s great, but more and more people are heading towards the arguably easier to drink white wine based sangrias.

A simple quick to make White wine Sangria perfect for summer nights would be as follows:

750ml (1 bottle) White Wine

1 ½ cups of white rum

1 ½ cups of orange juice

½ cup of white sugar

1 lemon, lime and orange

Optional: Selection of orchard fruits (apples, pears, plums etc.) to taste.

Top up with either sparkling wine or lemonade.

Top Tips: For further customisation, use your favourite wine (Pinot Grigio’s, Chardonnay’s and Rose wines work equally as well as each other). Also use different fruits. Don’t restrict yourself to the citrus, add some different flavours, try soft berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc…). And finally why not try using your favourite mixers? Cola’s do not work very well, but different fruit soda’s such as Fanta, Sprite and Vimto all work very well, and add a little extra flavour to the sangria. It’s all about your personal touch, make the sangria something you like, but make it so that the people drinking it will want more. Most importantly, enjoy the experience, from buying the wine, to making the mix to drinking it. It’s all part of the experience…

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I prefer white wines, but a Traditional Red Wine Sangria is sometimes just what the doctor ordered… (Disclaimer: Doctors would probably not recommend Sangria ever!)

Other recipes for white wine sangrias can be found on these websites:

Google search for Classic White wine Sangria’s:

https://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=classic+white+wine+sangria+recipes&oq=classic+white+wine+sangria+recipes&gs_l=serp.3…3418.7327.0.7608.19.15.4.0.0.5.204.1694.8j6j1.15.0.les%3Bcappsweb..0.0…1.1.5.psy-ab.r9h6UQ357_E&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&fp=3fe8463959a88f3d&biw=1366&bih=600

Google search for classic Spanish sangria’s:

https://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=classic+spanish+sangria+recipes&oq=classic+spanish+sangria+recipes&gs_l=serp.3..0i30j0i8i10i30.4357.8648.3.9123.21.19.2.0.0.3.160.1878.12j7.19.0.les%3Bcappsweb..0.0…1.1.5.psy-ab.BC575HLSjHo&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&fp=3fe8463959a88f3d&biw=1366&bih=600

For a quick, easy & light red wine sangria try this recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sangria_93847

Why not check out this great blog for a Rainbow Sangria:

http://21nogluten.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/somewhere-over-the-rainbow-sangria/

P.S. On a final note, I would just like to say that whilst I generally use Pinot Grigio in the recipes, it was only because that’s what was on offer at the time. I tend to find Chardonnay wines (especially Kumala) make for better additions to the sangria, mainly because they have fruitier bouquets. Also Prosecco is better as a sparkling wine topper than fancy champagne. Revert to my post on champagne/sparkling wine for more information:

https://theferventshaker.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/champagne-cocktails-more-than-just-bellinis-and-mimosas/

Licor 43 (Cuarenta Y Tres): The Jewel of Southern Spain…

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Licor 43: Cuarenta Y Tres… Why all the fuss?

My first encounter with this seductive liqueur was about 6 years ago, purely by chance too! I ordered Cointreau, and instead, out came this rather yellowy-gold nectary glass containing what I now know to be called: Licor 43. Alongside which was a small glass bottle of Pepsi, ready for me to serve… Now I was a bit confused, but considering I had just paid for it, I certainly made the most of it. Now as you can imagine I had no clue as to what it was I was drinking, all I knew was that it tasted bloody amazing.

Here in this focus I want to get across to every one of my readers 2 things;

1)     That this little known liqueur is looked over by many individuals, and rarely comes out to play.

And:

2)     That this liqueur can help create some of the (arguably) best cocktails in the world. Simple, yet eloquent cocktails that make you wonder why you never tried it before.

So please, read, and enjoy (and as usual feel free to share your opinions/feelings/thoughts and anything else you want to share about this topic at the bottom of the post)…

The first website I went to gather information was the official Licor 43 website: www.licor43.com and there I was greeted with the customary age input you get with all the alcohol sites, but this is where the similarities with other alcohol (spirit especially) websites; After it loads, you’re met with this fantastically vibrant and contemporary home page draped in black and gold. It really is a great welcome by the liqueur company and you’re sure to remember it well into the future. But even this eye catching design, they feel, isn’t enough: that’s right you’re met with this wonderfully melodic piece of music that, for lack of a better, word is perfect for the website & the liqueur.

Once you take a few seconds to steady yourself, you can begin to explore the relatively simple but effective pages of the site. I started with the cocktails, for obvious reasons (they taste great by the way) but for all intents and purposes I shall discuss the history first.

The History of Licor 43

As with every liqueur company their histories are almost always somewhat exaggerated, like a game of Chinese whispers that got out of hand; it starts with ‘my auntie gave me the recipe’ and ends with ‘my auntie gave me the recipe, but did so whilst saving my family from a hoard of giants and dragons’… Needless to say you should always take these with a pinch of salt…

Licor 43’s history is not as ‘flowered up’ on their official website, and started off with humble beginnings. Created by a group of entrepreneurs; two brothers (Diego & Angel) and a couple by the name of (Mrs) Josefina Zamora Conesa & her husband Emilo Restoy Godoy Licor 43 started off small and became well known locally.

Working hard together, and pioneering advertisement techniques in southern Spain at the time (including TV, radio and even vehicle ads), they turned a small liqueur company into the single most successful Spanish liqueur ever created. It became the highest sold/consumed liqueur in Spain before hitting the European and world markets (sold in a total of 55 worldwide markets, present day).

The Taste Of The Real Southern Spanish Gold:

‘O Tono Con Todo’ meaning “The Tone With All” – Licor 43 is Spain’s biggest International Success.

Licor 43, or “Cuarenta Y Tres” as it is known locally (and to almost anyone who can pronounce the words), is a golden-yellow liquid made with 43 individual ingredients. The flavours you get when drinking it, consist primarily of vanilla and citrus but there are also subtle notes of spice and an almost aged-rum like quality, but overall the liqueur is very sweet. This however does not detract from its mixability or overall taste/flavours.

As the website suggests, it’s made to the highest quality and cannot be imitated, and has a smooth finish that not only allows it to become a possible drink for all palates but it makes it easy to mix into almost any other liquid, should it be other spirits (for cocktails), coffee, cola’s or even milk!

Whilst it is an easy liqueur to mix, you should never just presume that it works the same as a vanilla liqueur. However, as long as you take into account the subtle spice flavours as well as the citrus, you will be able to create more complex flavours in your cocktails.

Other Funny Little Things:

So I speak to people about this liqueur all the time… And every time I’m met with a blank stare and simply asked: “What’s this Licor 43 then?” along with “never heard of it” … Now this always gets to me because I have a well held love for this liqueur and have done since I first tried it about out 6 years ago. I feel the biggest problem with this, and the reason hardly any one knows about it in the UK is that it’s not sold in many bars or supermarkets, which is a big problem for myself. This is the problem with almost any product you want, or want to share with people; you are limited to what the supermarkets or other vendors are willing to sell.

The shame here is, in my opinion (as a bit of a cocktail snob), that i would replace Galliano (a vanilla liqueur) with Licor 43 in almost 99% of the relevant cocktails – purely because, in my opinion, it tastes better as well as helping to develop more complex layers of flavour in a drink. From simple concoctions such as the Harvey Wallbanger to the more complicated maidens kiss, Licor 43 adds that extra layer and again, in my opinion, adds something special to any drink it’s in.

Licor 43 is the most famous Spanish liqueur, revered by bartenders across the world...
Licor 43 is the most famous Spanish liqueur, revered by bartenders across the world…

So what about the liqueurs aesthetics I hear you shout!? – Don’t worry if you didn’t, I’m going to tell you my thoughts anyway!

So as you can see from the picture above it is a golden-yellow liquid and its stored in what is, in my opinion, a simple yet stylish bottle. It does have one of those annoying pouring regulator plastic things in the neck of the bottle but sometimes (although definitely not all the time!), especially with thicker/denser liqueurs like this, it can be of help. Taste wise, its mainly vanilla and citrus you get, but if you try it again and again, you’ll eventually come across the spices in the drink as well. This is a well-balanced liqueur that, as shown by its sales history in Spain alone, is probably one of the best in the world. It’s unique in both its flavours and their balance, not to mention great in a simple Pepsi mix, or even complicated cocktails.

You can buy miniatures from this website: (usually around £2-£2.50) … http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=5748

Now this is the link for the miniature(s) of the drink, but there is a link on that page for the full 70cl bottles (around £18/£19) and they can be purchased there. If you want to give it a try, grab a couple of miniatures and get mixing, pick one of the following cocktails and let loose. Eventually you’ll find something you like and I promise you won’t regret it!

Licor 43 Cocktails: Mix Up Something Special…

Key Lime Pie Martini

–       1 measure Licor 43

–       1 measure Key Lime Juice

–       2 measures Cream

–       2 measures Vanilla Vodka

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously for about 1-2 minutes. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Enjoy.

The vanilla from the vodka and the citrus from the lime juice help extract both the vanilla and citrus flacours from the licor 43, This frees up the spices/other flavours the licor 43 contains to be tasted in the drink.

Hedonism 43

–       1.5 measures Licor 43

–       4 measures Pineapple juice

Licor 43 is perfect for this sort of summary drink. The smoothness of Licor 43 is really apparent in mixes with juice like this… Try using the same amount of Orange Juice instead of pineapple for a completely different, but still fantastic, tasting cocktail!

Vanilla Dreamiscle

–       1.25 measures Licor 43

–       2.5 measures Orange Juice

–       1 tbsp brandy

–       1 tbsp milk

Shake all the ingredients well, and serve over ice in a chilled glass.

Perfectly smooth, this drink oozes class. The vanilla and citrus flavours in the Licor 43 blend well with the brandy and orange juice, and adding the milk just adds a little creaminess to this drink to make it perfectly smooth.

Licor 43 is so smooth, it can be mixed with almost anything, from Soda's to milk and every thing in between (even Coffee!)
Licor 43 is so smooth, it can be mixed with almost anything, from Soda’s to milk and every thing in between (even Coffee!)

43 Pina Colada

–       4 measures Pineapple Juice

–       3 measures Licor 43

–       1 measure coconut cream

–       ½ measure Malibu/coconut liqueur. (Optional)

Shake all ingredients well over ice. Pour (no straining) into a chilled glass and drink through straws.

43 Caipirinha

–       2 measures Licor 43

–       2 measures Light (white) Rum

–       ½ teaspoon White granular sugar

–       ¼ Lemon, sliced

In a cocktail shaker muddle the lemon with the sugar until most of the sugar dissolves

Then add the Licor 43, Rum and crushed ice and shake.

Pour, without straining, into a chilled glass and add a splash of soda water.

Now this drink is a bit naughty, as it takes out the one ingredient that makes it a Caipirinha; The Cachaca (a spirit distilled from sugar can in South America)… However in an attempt to make it at least resemble the original drink it does include white rum (a North American equivalent to a sugar cane based spirit).

This drink is included because it tastes great (trust me I’ve had a few of them in my time), but also to make a point.

Cocktails like this are all about experimenting with what you have on hand. In South America they made this drink’s Father (Classic Caipirinha) into a classic. Now all over the world you can order a Caipirinha and enjoy its refreshingly crisp taste. However, this specific ‘offspring cocktail’, as shown above adds something a little special that the original doesn’t have: a more complex flavour…

As you can see from the recipe, its preparation is remarkably similar to that of a Mojito (minus the mint) and in this case, it’s shaken only due to the high density of Licor 43.

My advice to you when making this brilliant cocktail is to not be afraid to meddle with the amount of sugar used. For some, the licor 43’s sweetness will be enough but for others not so. Try different amounts of sugar, or even different sugars (in my opinion a Mojito tastes better with demerara sugar not white and the same goes here) but in the end you need to find your own flavours and the best way is to try things out…

Pro Tip: for a smoother drink, try using caster/superfine sugar instead of the granulated kind.

The Gold Standard

–       2 measures Gold Tequila

–       1 measure Licor 43

–       ½ measure Curacao Orange Liqueur (Triple sec also works well here)

–       ½ measure Sweet & Sour Mix

–       ½ measure (Freshly Squeezed) Orange Juice.

Using Curacao Liqueur is obviously the best move for this drink, but in the case of you not finding any orange curacao (the Blue curacao is most readily available but will ruin the aesthetics of the drink) use Triple Sec liqueur instead (it’s made by the same method only its slightly stronger and clear).

43 & Tonic

–       4 Measures Licor 43

–       2 measures fresh Lemon juice

–       Top up Tonic Water

Build the ingredients over ice, add the tonic water and stir well to mix. For some added bitterness add 2 dashes of angostura before the tonic, for some added sweetness add a ½ teaspoon of sugar syrup at the same point. Enjoy.

From shots to Tall iced teas, Licor 43 is extremely versatile, why not try it out?
From shoots – long iced teas, Licor 43 is extremely versatile, why not try it out?

So to close, i just want to say one thing: Some of you have probably heard of Licor 43 before, and most of you won’t have… Either way i hope reading this has opened your mind to both it’s quality as a standalone liqueur, and at the very least given you some cocktails you’d like to go away and try.

Just please go out and give it a try, you won’t regret it, I promise you that much!